This morning even if windy and damp in Tagaytay City we witnessed the ordination to the priesthood of five young SVD missionaries: (1) Fr. Joey Ruega who was born in the province of Abra; Fr. Tups Marqueses from Legaspi City; Fr. Manny Mijares, first SVD from Masbate; Fr. Garry Bacol from Bohol province and John Wang (Wang Peng Fei) from Mainland, China. Two of them received a foreign mission assignment--Fr. Bacol to Argentina and Father Wang to Kenya.
Around 60 priests, 100 SVD seminarians and brothers, and 400 visitors prayed in the chapel of Divine Word Seminary with Bishop Ben Famadico of the Diocese of Gumaca in Quezon province, the ordaining prelate. The bishop is an alumnus of the seminary and in his homily he spoke about his own trial in the seminary--the death of his father followed by a thought of leaving the seminary to help his family. It was the late Fr. Franz Josef Fetzer, SVD then the parish priest of Roxas, Occidental Mindoro, the Bishop's birthplace, who encouraged him to remain in the seminary by narrating to him a personal story of his vocation. The bishop remembered very well the last words of Fr. Fetzer which the former also left as words of encouragement to the young men about to be ordained: "Ben, God will not abandon you. God will always provide."
The happy event, however, was marked with a sad news-- the death of Mr. Emmanuel Venus, the father of Frt. Arjay Venus, one of our SVD scholastics. Frater Arjay (from Bautista in Dasmarinas, Cavite) was the ordination's food coordinator and thus was doing his task as his father lay dying in hospital.